Beau Adams rolled up 168 yards and scored five touchdowns to lead the Emerald Coast Stingrays in a 48-6 season-opener victory over the Freeport Bulldogs in middle school football action in Santa Rosa Beach Tuesday evening.
“We just had a lot of kids that came out hit holes and we had holes opening for us,” said Stingray Coach Matt Brooks
Last year, that wasn’t the case.
"This year, our linemen are a little more season. We’ve got some older players and the holes opened up for us. That kind of made the offense go,” Brooks said. “And once we got a little momentum going, I thought we did real well.”
The Stingrays wound up scoring on every possession.
Emerald Coast got the ball first and scored in four plays with Adams taking it in on a 48-yard scamper to the end zone. The two-point try failed.
On the Bulldogs' first possession, the Stingrays knocked the ball loose with Noah Ford making the recovery.
Emerald Coast was in the end zone again three plays later, this time on an 18-yard run by Adams. The extra point attempt again failed.
On Freeport’s next possession, the Bulldogs gained a little ground with Jacob Cathey picking up 10 yards, only to be knocked back on the next play.
Emerald Coast took over on the Freeport 37-yard line and scored in three plays. Quarterback Caleb Lindsey picked up 5 yards and then connected with Ford for a gain of 12 yards. On the next play, Adams took off around the around the end for a 20-yard score. Adams rushed in for the two-point conversion and the Stingrays led 20-0 at the end of the first quarter.
At the start of the second, Freeport scored its only touchdown. Cathey rushed a couple of times for gains of 30 yards and 24 yards before taking it in on a 2-yard quarterback sneak up the middle. Emerald Coast stuffed the Bulldogs on the two-point try for a 20-6 game.
It didn’t take the Stingrays long to answer. In less than a minute, Maddox Porter rushed for 20 yards and then Lindsey connected with Ford for a gain of 7 yards. On the next play, Adams found a hole up the middle and then took it left for 34 yards and the score. Stingrays led 26-6.
Emerald Coast scored one last time in the first half on a 28-yard run by Adams. Lindsey scored the two-point conversion for a 34-6 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, Emerald Coast put the ball in the hands of Porter for a 7 yard TD run and Nolan Watson ran in the two-point conversion for a 42-6 lead and a running clock on the game.
Freeport got the ball only to be stopped by the Stingray defense. Emerald Coast’s Shane Lane picked off a Bulldog pass and ran it back about 20 yards to the 10-yard line. On the Stingrays first play, Watson scored around the left end for a 48-6 victory.
“My biggest surprise was our defense,” Brooks said after the game. “Our defense looked iffy in practice and I wasn’t sure what they would do, but for the most part I’m happy.”
The Stingrays held Freeport to 70 yards total offense with Cathey picking up 62 of those yards.
As for the Emerald Coast offense, they were hitting on all cylinders with a total of 280 yards on the ground and 19 through the air.
“Beau (Adams) is always going to have big runs. He’s a player,” Brooks said. “He plays hard every down, right up to the end.”
Ford checked in with three carries for 56 yards and Porter with 45 yards in four rushes.
Up next for Emerald Coast is a road trip on Tuesday to Vernon where they will play in a jamboree. The Stingrays will be back at home on Aug. 29 at 6 p.m. against the Walton Braves.